Where the Eye Leads

by Earl J Posted on September 17, 2011

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So often in photography we find that what the camera takes is not what we remember our eyes have seen. But, the good news is that our photos can be dramatically improved if we lead with our eyes. Cameras don’t have selective vision – that is up to the photographer and I hope these examples will help you when you try to let your eyes lead.

These are not ordinary beach shots. In the first, your eye follows the fence and dunes to what will become the beach, and in the second the row of shoes leads us to the beach beyond.

In this photo of young lovers at a fountain, the camera sees it all but what do you see first? Probably the girl’s face and the boy’s back. Because of the lighting our eye leads us right to those parts of the picture.

These shots were not posed and were taken on a street in Warsaw, Poland. By placing the photos as I did, your eye sees that the gentleman was totally involved in listening to the young musicians.

Our eyes can really help us get good photos when sculptures are involved. Here a statue of Chopin was photographed from an angle so that he seems to be watching the woman playing his music on a piano.

Involving a real person with a sculpture can result in a photo that is both fun and meaningful, as shown above.

I saw this boy sitting on a sculpture in Tarragona, Spain. I asked permission to take this close-up shot as he sat there with his grandfather.

Use your eyes to lead, and discover what exciting and creative photos you can take.



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  1. Joey Says:

    Great article Earl. I like the first two where it makes the eye wander to the ocean and beach. I also enjoyed the sculpture photos, those are fun and they do add a touch of whimsy and sentiment. I thought they all were great.
    Fun article!

  2. shannonr Says:

    Earl, interesting article, really made me think about when i take photos what exactly I am looking at. Thank you for the informative article.

  3. AnnAbbott Says:

    I enjoyed how to look at different ways to make a photo.

more about Earl J

I'm a long-time film photographer, starting with a darkroom in my parents' fruit-cellar when a teen-ager. I fought the change to digital at first, but no longer. I've become a convert and Shutterfly has been my on-line provider since 2002. Since then I've placed (as I write this) 135 orders for prints, enlargements, calendars for every year and 42 photo books in different sizes. I'm very pleased with the top quality of all Shutterfly products.

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